State Sweets

By Lannan O’Brien     Image by Pam Carter from Pixabay

There’s something sweet to be discovered in every New England state. From baked goods to dessert drinks, each of our home states is known for something iconically delicious. Wherever you are in the region, it’s worth treating yourself to these classic confections.



Image of a pile of snickerdoodles, with a bite out of the one on top

There’s a lot of debate over the origin of this sugary cookie’s name. The best bet is its original form as a German coffee cake known as a snipdoodle, introduced by Pennsylvania Dutch and German immigrants. Later the term referred to cakes that were baked in large pans and cut into bars, then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. One thing is clear: Connecticans are fans. The snickerdoodle is the official state cookie, and the state dessert, a snickerdoodle cookie sandwich.

Where to find the best:
Insomnia Cookies, New Haven and Storrs
Wave Hill Breads, Norwalk


Rhode Island

Coffee Milk
Photo by Spablab via Flickr

It’s not iced coffee, and it’s not coffee with milk. This beverage, made with coffee syrup and cold milk, has been a Rhode Island staple since the 1930s when two brands, Eclipse and Autocrat, added coffee syrup to their list of products (Autocrat purchased its competitor in the ‘90s). But it’s not to be confused with the coffee cabinet, a Rhode Island milkshake made from coffee ice cream, coffee syrup and milk.

Where to find the best:
Dave’s Coffee, Providence and Charlestown — coffee milk available in-store, as well as Dave’s bottled coffee syrup
Wright’s Dairy Farm Creamery, Providence



Whoopie Pie

Close-up image of a whoopie pie

Although three states claim they invented this sweet dessert — Maine, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania — only one has it named as its “state treat.” Mainers are serious about their whoopie pies, which are actually not pies at all, but two round pieces of chocolate cake with a creamy filling. Modern variations include different types of cake, from gingerbread to pumpkin. 

Where to find the best:
Labadie’s Bakery, Lewiston — known for selling “Maine’s First Whoopie Pie” in 1925
Congdon’s Doughnuts, Wells



Boston Cream Pie

Image of a Boston cream pie with a slice removed

While the name is deceiving — they were likely first baked in pie tins, leading to the moniker — the Boston cream pie is actually a cake with a rich cream filling, covered in chocolate glaze. The decadent dessert is thought to have first been served at the Parker House Hotel in Boston (now the Omni Parker House) in 1856, as the brainchild of a newly hired French chef. It wasn’t long before its popularity spread across the US.

Where to find the best:
Omni Parker House, Boston
Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston and Cambridge


New Hampshire

Pumpkin Spice Cookie

Image of pumpkin spice cookies on a table with a pumpkin-shaped mug

Pumpkin pie is just the beginning of pumpkin spice-filled treats for New Englanders. And when one thinks of New Hampshire, its state cookie just makes sense: a pumpkin spice cookie is the perfect snack to take along while leaf-peeping or enjoying a nature hike in the Granite State (while you’re at it, you might as well grab a pumpkin spice latte).

Where to find the best:
Crumbl Cookies, multiple locations — pumpkin chocolate chip cookie
Queen City Cupcakes & Gift Shop, Manchester — pumpkin spice cookie sandwich



Vermont Apple Pie

Image of an apple pie

Outsiders have strong opinions one way or the other, but Vermonters tend to agree that there’s only one way to make an apple pie: with cheese. The way it’s served is up for debate, but whether it’s baked into the pie itself or added on the side, a bit of cheddar should somehow be involved to balance the sweetness. It’s actually part of a state law mandating that businesses make a “good faith effort” to serve pie along with either a glass of milk, cheddar cheese or ice cream.

Where to find the best:
Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Waterbury Center
Vermont Apple Pie Bakery, Proctorsville

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